Two billionaires emerge from Twitter rich list

Oliver Smith
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TWITTER’S highly anticipated market debut granted entry into the billionaire’s club for not one, but two of its founders yesterday.

Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder, first investor and chief executive from 2008 to 2010, now boasts share holdings in the social network worth more than $2.55bn (£1.59bn).

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief executive from 2007 to 2008, has shares in the company giving him a paper fortune of $1.05bn.

Dick Costolo, who was brought on board in 2010 as Twitter’s first external chief executive, was given shares now worth $340m as part of his awards entitlement.

Dozens of Twitter’s London staff are also in line to receive windfalls from their share holdings following the public offering.

Twitter UK general manager Bruce Daisley, head of agency sales Dara Nasr, head of planning Oliver Snoddy and director of media Lewis Wiltshire have all been named as UK staff with share options expected to benefit.

The windfalls awaiting Twitter’s two other co-founders, Biz Stone and Noah Glass, remain less clear. Stone’s shareholdings were not disclosed as part of Twitter’s SEC filings, most likely because he holds less than five per cent of the company’s stock – holdings below this do not have to be disclosed.

Glass, who argues that he helped Dorsey to develop the initial seed idea of the service – a claim disputed by Dorsey who insists he was solely responsible for the idea of Twitter – and is credited with coming up with the name of the service, was kicked out of the company in 2006 with no share holdings.

Goldman Sachs’ lead banker on Twitter’s $31.6bn (£19.6bn) public float, Anthony Noto, tweeted the reaction that many of Twitter’s underwriters must have been feeling after the first day’s trading, “Phew!”. Goldman Sachs along with the other underwriters of Twitter’s IPO will share around $59.2m in fees for managing the sale, one of the smallest fees for a US IPO this year. Goldman placed almost 27m of Twitter’s 70m shares, according to an SEC filing yesterday, and will receive around $22.8m in fees. Morgan Stanley will receive the second largest share of the fees with $12.1m and JP Morgan will take $9.5m. Since the purpose of an IPO is to raise cash for the company going public, some have suggested that Twitter and the banks advising it, might have set the $26 price too low. The difference between $26 and $46 is billions of dollars left on the table by Twitter for its early investors to flip at a huge profit. But while a higher initial valuation might have directed billions more dollars back to Twitter for investment, it could have spooked investors too easily reminded of Facebook’s price increases from $28 to $38 which eventually led to disappointment during the first months of trading. Following the successful float for Twitter, which rose 73 per cent in the trading, lead banker Noto tweeted at Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo and co-founders Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone, “It has been a privilege”.